US military spending $400 for every gallon of fuel used in Afghanistan
The Wall Street Journal published some interesting analysis: moving fuel and supplies in Afghanistan is so dangerous that the Air Force has increased the number of air drops (which combined with the border issues with Pakistan) now bring the cost of a gallon of fuel to $400.
“We’re going to burn a lot of gas to drop a lot of gas,” said Capt. Zack Albaugh, a California Air National Guard pilot deployed with the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
“If you want us to drop something on a postage stamp, by God we’ll do it,” a C-17 pilot says. “But there’s only so many crews.”
From the WSJ report:
The cost and difficulty of fuel deliveries in places like Afghanistan is one major reason the Pentagon is working to overhaul the way the armed forces use energy, from developing aircraft that can run on biofuels to powering remote bases with solar panels or wind turbines.
The planes dipped over the landscape, laden with pallets of fuel. A small parachute deployed from each C-130′s cargo door, sending 34,000 pounds of fuel clattering across the loading ramp, like the Coney Island Cyclone.
In the sky, parachutes blossomed, and the crates floated to the ground below. Aircrews based in Afghanistan fly missions around the clock to keep troops on the ground supplied. “We’ve been pretty busy,” said Capt. Jose Ariza, Capt. Albaugh’s crewmate.
The volume of cargo drop escalated exponentially since 2005.
The sheer volume of air-dropped cargo is swiftly rising. In 2005, Air Force planes dropped around two million pounds of supplies to troops in Afghanistan. Last year, they delivered around 60 million pounds by airdrop. By the end of this year, officials say, they expect to drop around 90 million pounds of food, water, ammunition and fuel to bases in the country.
Full article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204903804577080613427403928.html